So God, You Wanna Come Out and Play?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by ScholarlySeeker, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    So God… Wanna Come Out and Play?

    You remember reading in school about the discovery of penicillin? Yeah, me neither, but reading about the discoverer, Alexander Fleming was quite a delightful surprise. He was a very serious scientist, and very, very good at his scientific research and labors, and he was a goofball! He played like crazy! He played at home, he played at work, or rather he played with his work, which is one of the key factors in his discovering the most important thing of all. His own genius (though he never talked about it). In fact, he played all kinds of games whether on land or in water, and he also “did not always play by the usual rules either. He found delight, according to one friend, in making difficulties for himself, just for the fun of overcoming them.” (Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Sparks of Genius, The 13 Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Houghton Mifflin, 1999: 246-247. They also take note of the world renowned physicist Richard Feynman, and several of his hilarious antics, which you can and ought to read more about in the book Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!)

    So, on a related note, Emanuele Severino, the Italian philosopher who skillfully combats and refutes Nihilism, describes all beings as eternal. Every thing, relation, instant, experience, state of consciousness, and nature, every event Everything appearing in any way and not at all appearing is Eternal. His definition of Eternal is that it is necessary that each being be and be as it is. And it is impossible for any being not to be. Everything that is not a nothing is a being. Every being is eternal. (Emanuele Severino, The Essence of Nihilism, Verso, London, N.Y., First English translation 2016: xv)

    So how is this related to playing?! Allow me to continue to connect things. Feminists, says Charles Hartshorne, have complained that men have ruled far too harshly throughout history (and far too long according to some), and that their patriarchal attitudes have created a Tyrannical God. [W. B. Yeats succinctly asked “Did God in Portioning wine and bread Give man His thought or His mere body?” in his poem “Michael Robartes and the Dancer” in John Kelly W. B. Yeats, Barnes & Noble Books, 2nd print, 2003: 55]. Men are the masters (all ya gotta do is read any of the Greek Tragedies, say The Orestian Trilogy by Aeschylus for instance, to see the argument of men vs women and who rules and who gets to kill and who gets to be acquitted and why), and therefore the tyrant conception of God is to command while the creatures obey, according to Charles Hartshorne. He continues to show that then if God would command “Be creative and foster creativity in others,” (as per Berdyaev) then God would be all-creative, all-determining so on and so forth.

    “Lincoln said ‘As I would not be a slave, I would not be a master.’ Is Lincoln considered nobler than God? Would God be a master, in the sense some have given this term, a cosmic sovereign? Tyrannical people may worship a tyrant God, but why should the rest of us do?” (Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes, State University of New York, 1984: 58-59) Now this is what I’m talkin about!

    In her stellar analysis of Shakespeare’s exegesis of women and men and their relationships throughout our history of literature, and most especially in Shakespeare, Marilyn French, the English scholar at Harvard for years, analyzes the gender issues in all his plays, but her ideas in Twelfth Night especially caught my eye. While the characters of Olivia and Orsino are all full of self pity and wallowing in their sorrows, and quite full of themselves, Malvolio is, as Isaac Asimov explained him, “humorless, austere, proud, and easily angered…Shakespeare’s notion of a Puritan.” (Isaac Asimov, Asimov on Shakespeare, Vol. 1, p. 579). They are focused only on themselves, and only on how life is so serious, and consequently disastrous in so many ways. They are perfectly miserable and unable to have an identity or social role really. But Sir Toby Belch and his crowd? Oh they are the bother boys, the hellians, the all around lets have fun, party, and enjoy life while we are alive types. They never take themselves seriously, (nor take anyone else that way either) and while holding no malicious or dangerous intent, some of their antics do cause some harm to some of the others, as well as to themselves, though in the end they are forgiven because they are not evil, they are silly, and obnoxious. They have no cares in the world. They play. “They love life totally and they are incarnations of the spirit of comedy unmodified.” And as such, “Toby is fun…they abandon themselves to sensuous pleasure – eating, drinking, jokes… they defy the proper order of a polite household; they do things for no reason beyond the fun of doing them… they are lively and witty and provide the energy of the play. They love life in a basic, childlike way.” (Marilyn French, Shakespeare’s Division of Experience, Summit Books, 1981: 116f).

    Notice, she says they are the energy of the play, and they are certainly that! They make the play worth reading. So, what’s this got to do with God? Everything! God is the energy of the Universe, and he is at play according to the idea of Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell and others. Richard A. Underwood, professor of religion at the University of North Carolina says “the genius of the ultimate secret of philosophy may be described as the comic spirit.” (“Myth, Dream and Contemporary Philosophy,” in Joseph Campbell, editor, Myths, Dreams, and Religion Eleven Visions of Connection, MJF Books, 1970: 233). Poetry is also at its best when it inspires, and when it is funny. All one has to do is read T. S. Eliot’s “The Ad-Dressing of Cats” and laugh like crazy because his poem is exactly spot on concerning our feline friends.

    Early on, the gods and demons were not seen as mean, vile, and dangerous at all. When actors don the mask of their god masks on, they are not representing the gods, they become the gods. And as such they are having fun at playing God! “It is the fanciful spirit of play.” (Joseph Campbell, Primitive Mythology, Penguin Books, 1976: 21-23).

    Alan Watts shows how the Gospels portray Jesus as being slapped, spit on, and killed for simply saying, more or less, I am God. The Jews had a complete hang up about this (“A chronic hangup”), while the Hindus in India “would have laughed and rejoiced” on hearing someone say I am God. That is the point of their religion to come to that recognition! (Alan Watts, Cloud-Hidden Whereabouts Unknown A Mountain Journal, Vintage Books, 1974: 148-149). That recognition caused pure joy, “Ananda” which means “bliss.” It was not blasphemy, it was salvation. “Spiritual freedom involves a particular kind of joyousness.” (Alan Watts, Become What You Are, Shambala, 2018: 145). And what gave that kind of spiritual “joyousness” was to realize God was in everything, which was the gist of what James Joyce in Ulysses was indicating in the “Nestor” chapter. Let go of the ego attachments, all ego-principles let go. “God isn’t the transcendent one out there: God is the immanent principle right here in everything, in every body, including dogs.” (Joseph Campbell, Mythic Worlds, Modern Words, On the Art of James Joyce, HarperCollinsPublishers, 1993:65-66).

    “Playing the game of good against evil, success against failure, in the full knowledge that it is a game (lila) is how India grasped the deeper solution to the problem of life. (Alan Watts, The Two Hands of God, The Myth of Polarity, Collier Books, 1963: 25)

    The origin of the original sacrifice was that of God sacrificing his unity in order to create the world by dividing Himself. He gives birth to the world by sacrificing Himself as men then sacrifice themselves (their illusion of being separate egos) back into God into unity. The dismemberment and rememberment of God and man is all One Self doing so. While dismembered, and in the act of separation, God is playing hide and seek with Himself, which means we are not in the game, we are the game! (Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, Pantheon Books, 1957: 32-33). The only real atom is the universe, and the only real thing is everything, including us. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.” (Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Vintage Books, 1972: 128).

    This is all scarcely logical if at all, but what does logic have to do with it? Logic is used with word usage. And one of the West’s famous problems with words is “because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself” in the Orient. “In all the Oriental religions great value is placed on the Sanskrit doctrine of Tat Tvam Asi, “Thou art that.” Which asserts that everything you think you are and everything you think you perceive are undivided. To realize fully this lack of division is to become enlightened. Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom.” (Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Bantam New Age Book, 1984: 126).

    So Jesus through the centuries has been depicted in literature and art as a stern, never smiling, and God forbid(!), never laughing deity. It is all business. It is all serious. And he is a very heavy God. There is no fun here. But this is the West’s view. The Universe itself is the playground of God, and all those trillions of stars, explosions, collisions, colors, hues, chemicals, mixing, dancing, is the play of God. We are God playing, and we are the game. We are not in the game, we are the game, since we are involved in all of this fireworks, as Alan Watts so poetically calls the reality of the universe. All you have to do is go look up at night to see the most incredible fireworks in existence. God is playing hide and seek with himself with us as his parts, having forgotten. The fun of the game is in discovering this and seeking our original Self. It’s like a huge detective game. This is vastly more encouraging, interesting, and exhilarating way of living and enjoying and getting rid of guilt, fear, and enhancing wonder humor and honor to all of creation.

    This view is most fully and humorously, energetically, philosophically and spiritually elaborated on in Alan Watts book Out of Your Mind, the Cosmic Game of Hide and Seek, Sounds True, 2017. I like this view. Is it proven? No, of course not. It’s an idea to entertain, to mull over, and try out for yourself. See all life as a yes, an affirmation of fun and joy and realize you are not a part of reality, you are the reality! So, to the question “God, Will You Come and Play?” The answer is, sure! Go ahead and start!
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    So do you promote pantheism, or panentheism?
     
  3. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    I'm not sure if I promote either. I'm throwing out thoughts as they occur to me for interesting reading. At least I hope so.
     
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  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Yes. @Thomas can have that effect on a person, lol

    No worries. Just keep posting :)
     
  5. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    Sometimes I worry about over doing it, but then one can read what I write anytime, and so its better to at least get it out there, and if its liked great, if its not liked, great, at least we are reading and learning and sharing and critiquing constructively, and just having fun! I appreciate you saying to keep posting. I will do so. It is so nice to find many intelligent and thoughtful people on a message board. So many have devolved to all out war, and its really not necessary. We can all learn from each other, better ourselves, and better others, and have fun doing it, and enjoy the refreshing human intellect when it's being exercised. I mean, can it possibly get better than that? I ask you! I ask you! OK, yeah, we could do it over a backyard barbeque, but this is second best.....GRIN!
     
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  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    No problem with me ... impartial, non-partisan ... and quite refreshing, actually. I'm enjoying them.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hiya —
    Well that according to certain paradigms.

    In the Abrahamic paradigms, for example, that's not the case. God causes the universe to be, but the energy of the universe is not God, nor divine.

    Well a) I'm not sure Alan Watts is quite right in that conclusion and b) if he thinks Jewish monotheism 'a chronic hangup' I'm not quite sure about that, either. :rolleyes:

    We need to be precise here. That God is in everything does not mean everything is God.

    St Paul quotes the Cretan poet when he says "In him we live and breathe and have our being", but he does not assume that he is God, that he is inherently divine.

    And yet God is more than the sum of all things, Transcendent and Immanent.

    I thought it was to appease the Gods?

    Well, The Tao-Te-Ching opens: "he Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao" – but then goes on to talk about the Tao at some length!

    Again, the risk here is syncretism. One cannot lift a set of principles from one tradition and apply it to another.
     
  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    'We piped but you did not dance, we mourned but you did not weep"
    Matthew 11:17

    And now I'll actually have a look at the content, lol
     
  9. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    Now I had to do it too. :) We're talking about Matthew 11, right? What did you see there?
     
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  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    "Where is your God? Bring him out. Tell him to dance for us. We demand it."

    But God reveals himself to the humble in his own way? That particular verse?

    Just realised your meaning. I meant I should probably take a look at the full content of SS's essay above that I was commenting on, instead of just the headline, lol :)

    EDIT
    I still intend to read it I haven't got round to it yet though
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
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  11. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    RJM, thanks for your take on this parable. Your comment is an excellent stand alone truth, and I've seen a couple of online comments that go that way with regard to the "we" and "you" of the parable. In this particular context, however, it would seem to me that the "we" is that of divine revelation, and the "you" is those to whom it is directed. If neither of the extremes of revelation (goodness and severity) can be accepted, then nothing in between will do either. Nothing will meet expectations.

    John is seen as unnatural, severe, and promotes the very unpopular message of repentance. Therefore he has a demon. Jesus keeps company with sinners, eats and drinks, and is therefore a winebibber and glutton.

    For me it points to our resistance to change, and any true revelation means real change. Therefore we fear it and despise the forms through which it comes. IMO, as always. This parable pretzelized my thinking, as do all of them, and I doubt I comprehend the true depths of it.


    I wasn't sure, I thought it might have been a typo and you meant to say context instead of content. :)

    I'll leave it to you guys to hash all that out... He's not on trial for anything as far as I'm concerned. ;)
     
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  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    An individual view. How Christ's words go to the heart of every person in a personal way?
    The Matthew passage with the previous verse attached:

    But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
    And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented
    Matt 11:16-17

    I've read the above essay now. It seems to be more about an interplay with God:

    So Jesus through the centuries has been depicted in literature and art as a stern, never smiling, and God forbid(!), never laughing deity. It is all business. It is all serious. And he is a very heavy God. There is no fun here. But this is the West’s view. The Universe itself is the playground of God, and all those trillions of stars, explosions, collisions, colors, hues, chemicals, mixing, dancing, is the play of God. We are God playing, and we are the game. We are not in the game, we are the game, since we are involved in all of this fireworks, as Alan Watts so poetically calls the reality of the universe. All you have to do is go look up at night to see the most incredible fireworks in existence. God is playing hide and seek with himself with us as his parts, having forgotten. The fun of the game is in discovering this and seeking our original Self. It’s like a huge detective game. This is vastly more encouraging, interesting, and exhilarating way of living and enjoying and getting rid of guilt, fear, and enhancing wonder humor and honor to all of creation.

    Jesus is often depicted as the good shepherd and as gentle and kind. So I'm not sure that Jesus is always stern. But I get the gist.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  13. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    Yes, this is good... I had more in mind the Medieval view and version of the art of Christ as Cosmocrator and Emperior, etc. Never smiling, the Church Militant type of thing, which I realize is only focusing on a single era. But on the other hand, there are rarely any sermons, papers, etc. where Jesus is depicted as laughing, let alone Gond and when others do try, they are more or less shot down for doing so. The idea here is just to open our eyes more or less, just to potentially see it a different way. that is why my personal looking into the Kabbalah for myself is so overall relieving. It is a joy to see the texts talking about God "Frolicking!" Frolicking! Wow what an image eh? And the impression for us is that this ought to be spilling over into our lives, our attitudes to the creation, to water, earth, the leaves, the animals, etc. I did that last fall after I raked the leaves once. Here this 59 year old codger is out with his dog, and throwing leaves playing with the dog and jumping in them with the barking pooch laughing and having a blast. Well that's not dignified. Did I give a flying flip? Dignified didn't even enter my mind, nor could it have. Something much better happened.

    Incidentally, Daniel Matt, the author and translator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar is on You Tube with several features of his work, and it is just so delightful to watch. I can't help it, as much enjoyment as I get studying all the religions off and on, this Kabbalah and Zohar stuff just rings with me. I now have (and so do all of us) an actual Zohar Rabbi to help guide us through some of its complexities, and it is enlightening in the truest sense. I don't have to become a Jew to appreciate the texts, and now a Rabbi, no less!, is helping me through it. It just doesn't get any better than that. It's like Alan Watts being a guru to help me with my grasp of Buddhism and Zen, etc., it's just spectacular.
     
  14. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    Thomas
    In the Abrahamic paradigms, for example, that's not the case. God causes the universe to be, but the energy of the universe is not God, nor divine.


    SS
    Not so the Jewish Kabbalah... So I suppose it depends on which Abrahamic religion you and I are looking at to see if God is also not the energy of the universe. In Lurianic Kabbalah God is, at least so far as I am aware. Fun to explore eh? I have so much to learn, and have found many friends here to explore with. I mean can it possibly get any better than that? I asks you! Can it? GRIN!
     
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  15. powessy

    powessy Active Member

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    Hello ScholarlySeeker

    I just want to clarify the simple misunderstanding of god that seems to keep us running in circles. I have over the last few years been trying to unravel a mess that happened many, many billions of years ago. First of all this is not the first time this universe has become something. The reasoning behind this is that there are minds here that are not who we are they are themselves and not ourselves.

    Our universe is not the only universe this universe is within time leftover from a much larger universe. I believe a collision occurred within no-time or origin there, creating time there for this universe to become something.

    The simplest understanding of god is that we are all inside of something, such as you are inside of this universe, inside of our milky-way galaxy, inside of this world, and inside of yourself reading this. You are also many things becoming yourself, the many systems of the body and the many things in each and every cell to become yourself here. god is only inside of himself and is only one thing I refer to him as the one and only.

    What is the point of all this?. The point is to convert all of the time here in this universe into time inside of nothing here or the veil as I refer to it. If we keep removing the time form origin until it all becomes something again this universe will not become nothing again as it did the first time through it.

    To find gods mind, to understand him or figure him out you have to have so much more time inside of yourself your mind then you could understand. If man kind wants god to come out and play they will have to figure themselves out many times more then they have, and find the things preventing them from becoming something again and again. We only accumulate time here on earth and we have to climb up through the timelines to reach the top were we become ourselves all the time inside of nothing here. Once at the top you can then find gods mind and ask him to play.

    powessy
     
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  16. ScholarlySeeker

    ScholarlySeeker Active Member

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    How interesting! On the other hand, going through all the many times trying to figure it out may very well be God already playing! GRIN! You have some interesting ideas, thanks for sharing them. Yeah the idea of only this universe vs many of them is intriguing as all get out I must admit. In the meantime, what we ought to be doing is playing in this sand box. I mean, after all, it is here and so are we, so lets make some sand castles as it were. The problem appears to me is too many people want to throw sand in others' eyes instead of just enjoying when the sand is warm in the sunshine, and when it's cold as the sun sets.
     
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  17. powessy

    powessy Active Member

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    I also would love to believe that we should just focus on this universe and that would be the end of it.

    The problem is so much more complicated then one would like it to be. The first time this universe sprung to life it just became itself not knowing anything about itself. A living universe isn't that funny to imagine. How to define the universe? It is everything inside of itself I think of it like water which surrounds everything we can see or perceive, we are the displacement within it.

    Now you have to also understand how that universe became nothing here and this one found time to become something. An easy way to understand this is to first imagine that this universe we live in is part of a galaxy in a much larger universe, we are within the black hole of that galaxy. When you place something into a black hole it rips it apart to find time within it or nothing here now something there. This also implies that our milky way galaxy would also be large enough to have a universe within it. We are in the expansion period of this universe that means that the galaxy we are inside of still has matter there that has not been ripped apart yet to become something here.

    I believe we are the third time in of the first universe. As each galaxy is ripped apart to find time inside of itself the universe will become nothing inside of itself and become nothing here all that will remain is the displacement parts of the universe with nothing inside of them. When this happens I call this chaos, it is the embodiment of all that was ever here and nothing inside of it. The energy of that universe all finds time in origin or a place on the edge of no time.

    So what does this have to do with this universe then? Well origin became so massive it exploded to form this universe the big second bang. Now from my understanding we are supposed to stop time from entering into origin again to make sure this universe does not become nothing here again. This is not our job but was the job of ancients that failed to figure things out in time. The first universe tried to become itself again by trying to resurrect itself by using our time here that is becoming nothing here. 14 billion years later and nothing keeps becoming itself in the after because of this flip flop.

    The reason no one understands what happens after death here is because we are flawed. We have a little thing inside of us called mitochondria and these minds are not who we are they are themselves only, or yourself is not yourself. Even if you could find all of your minds, cells of your body get them together to become something in the after you still could not become something without your mitochondria and they are not you. To topple this problem you just can not become something again after this life because the first universe is trying to rip you apart to become itself again.

    I am playing in this sand lot, I just have problems trying to understanding all the information being thrown at me. I have no intentions of throwing sand
    just trying to figure things out.

    Powessy
     
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  18. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    My problem is with the idea of nothing being the opposite of something. I don't think that's right. Nothing is not a negative quantity, It is not a vacuum or an absence, It's not a hole in something Nothing has no properties. It cannot be said to exist in any way.

    It's not a quality in any way. There is only ever something. Never nothing?
    Do you get what I'm trying to say?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  19. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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  20. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I'll check it out. However space exists in time: it is not nothing? The space between worlds is not nothing? Something cannot come out of nothing? The quantum vacuum is not nothing. It occupies spacetime.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories
    Quantum vacuum
    Quantum mechanics can be used to describe spacetime as being non-empty at extremely small scales, fluctuating and generating particle pairs that appear and disappear incredibly quickly.
     
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